Namibia: Youth Charity Endures Funding Problem

Windhoek — The Physical Active Youth Namibia (P.A.Y.) which caters for 120 youths that come from low-income households, is seeking sponsorship for a feeding program that costs N$16,400 monthly to daily feed scores of school children from destitute families.

This specific program exists to alleviate childhood hunger by availing a nutritious lunch and two sandwiches weekdays and on weekends.

The organization constantly has to approach family members, friends and partners to try and keep the scheme going. It currently offers learners from grades 1 - 12 with a supervised after-school environment, that focuses on physical health, academic status, personal development, from 13h00 to 17h00.

Learners are allowed to make use of its library and computer room, participate in gardening activities and take a shower for those that do not have proper bathing or a shower at home.

The program has two full-time and four part-time staff members, and is supported by the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Project manager Ursula Matzopoulos said they all participate in the day-to-day work such as cleaning, cooking, teaching and mentoring the children. In what started out for her as volunteering from 14h00 to 17h00 ended with her doing it on a full-time basis.

She stressed funding is their biggest challenge. "We want children to do well in life, but how do you do well if you are hungry?"

The program improves learners' mathematical skills, tutoring through educational games and robotic skills. They also include sporting activities such as BMX riding, soccer, swimming and basketball.

NAMAs award-winning jazz saxophonist Susy Eises donated N$15,000 from the proceeds she made during a fundraising gala dinner she held last month.

"I truly believe the work they do here is very important to the children. I was just attracted to this program and in a way, I'm helping them get opportunities in life which I also got when I was young," she explained.

Matzopoulos urged private businesses or patriotic Namibians to visit the centre to witness first- hand the work being done and see how children interact with each other after school

P.A.Y. Namibia is situated at the Multipurpose Youth Resource Centre in Katutura.

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